Curriculum Detail

Visual Arts


Holderness School offers a wide range of visual arts curricula. The fine arts faculty offers training in studio arts, ceramics and photography, and regularly exhibits student work in the Heide Family Gallery as well as in other campus common spaces.

The Carpenter Arts Center—a spacious and sunny renovation of the original Holderness School gymnasium—is home to most of the fine arts coursework. The facility features a digital photography lab, a ceramics studio with eight wheels and a gas kiln, a press for linoleum or wood block printing, equipment for jewelry and stained glass production, a darkroom with 11 enlarger–equipped work stations, a studio for still–life and portrait photography, a matting and critiquing room, and student gallery space. Holderness School is also home to a blacksmith forge and a mural printing darkroom.

Student Work



Click here to see more student work

Edwards Art Gallery

The Carpenter Arts Center is also home to the Edwards Art Gallery which exhibits working artists several times a year.



Click here to visit the Edwards Art Gallery page


Visual Arts Course Descriptions

  • Studio Practices I

    1. Student artists in the Studio Practices course will experiment with a variety of media to create visual art during the semester long course. The elements of art (line, shape, space, color, value, texture, and form) are applied in two-dimensional Drawing, Painting and Design lessons. Students will begin to apply the principles of design, (rhythm/ movement, balance, proportion/ scale, variety/ unity, emphasis, contrast and repetition) in their art expression. The development and application of artistic techniques and skills are emphasized.
    2. Students will express their ideas by using art as a form of communication and will develop the confidence and ability to evaluate and discuss their own work and the work of others. As students work toward an appreciation and understanding of art, they will relate visual arts to various historical and cultural traditions. Students will learn to respect their own ideas and artistic expressions and those of others as they analyze and evaluate works of art.
    3. Students will develop Final Portfolios that will be assessed after each lesson and at the end of the semester with the guidance of specific grading rubrics and group critiques.

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  • 2D Digital Design

    1. This semester long course is a hands-on digital art & design course with strong emphasis on graphic communication. Students will develop their creative process through brainstorming and sketching, explore design principles and elements, and practice digital image manipulation. Assignments include: personal branding, logo, business card & letterhead design. Depending on student interest, potential projects include infographic, package, sticker, poster, album, and t-shirt design.
    2. Students will use Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud to develop vector images. Other technology and software may be used following the interests and needs of students.
    3. The goals of this course are for students to develop their creative process, learn and practice the foundations of design, discover how design permeates other areas of study, and explore potential career paths. In addition, students will engage in active observation and conversation about work produced by themselves and by their classmates, as well as visual references to historical and contemporary design.

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  • 3D Foundations

    Introductory course
    Student artists in the 3D Foundations course will experiment with a variety of media to create visual art during this semester long course. The elements of art (line, shape, form, space, color, value, and texture) are applied in two and three-dimensional design lessons. Students will apply the principles of design, (movement, balance, proportion/ scale, variety, unity, emphasis, contrast, figure/ground relationships and rhythm/ repetition) with their artistic expression. The development and application of artistic techniques and skills are emphasized. Students will express their ideas by using art as a form of communication.

    A wide range of mediums are used in this course including, but not limited to pencils, paper, cardboard, wire, clay, found materials and mixed media. Students will develop the confidence and ability to evaluate and discuss their own work and the work of others. As students work toward an appreciation and understanding of art, they will relate visual arts to various historical and cultural traditions. Students will learn to respect their own ideas and artistic expressions and those of others as they analyze and evaluate works of art. Students will develop ePortfolios that will be assessed after each lesson and at the end of the semester.
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  • Photography I

    1. Photography I will establish a solid photographic foundation in a hands-on teaching environment by introducing students to the magic and craft of digital photography. Students will learn basic photographic techniques using professional digital cameras in manual exposure mode. They will be tasked with slowing down and becoming proficient in aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings in various lighting situations. Students will work individually as well as collaboratively in groups while discussing the photographic merits of particular places and shooting at different times of day.
    2. Students will learn how to see and recognize the quality of light, color and tone when making photographs as well as how to compose an image, and how capture a photographic moment. They will also be introduced to studio lighting, Adobe Photoshop and learn how to print professional quality photographs.
    3. Students will take part in meaningful group discussions and critiques of their work. They will learn how to give and accept constructive criticism of their and their classmates’ photographs while working on assignments and a small personal project. Students will also experience the analog traditional darkroom and make their own pin-hole cameras.
    4. In short, students will learn diverse photographic techniques with an emphasis on how to see and create meaningful and powerful photographs they can be proud of.

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    Media Literacy Required Reading: Students will be required to regularly read one of several mainstream news outlets, such as the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal for class discussions about news and culture.
  • Filmmaking I

    1. Students will be introduced to the technical and fundamental skills needed to create short films using digital video cameras and Adobe Premiere Pro. They will study conceptual aspects of narrative storytelling in documentary and fiction. The class will emphasize creativity, personal vision and collaboration. We will view many films and scenes from various genres as creative examples for both technique and inspiration. Students will be challenged to consider the images and videos we make and view in order to improve visual literacy in the fast-paced visual culture we live in. The course will involve hands-on training while working towards a final project.
    2. During the course each student will be taught:
      · How to tell a story through video
      · The basic principles of how to capture video and audio
      · How to edit video and audio

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  • Studio Practices II

    1. This advanced course is a study of the principles and elements of art using a variety of studio media to explore compositional possibilities on a two-dimensional surface or three-dimensional space. The elements of design are like a palette of possibilities that artists use to express themselves. The principles of design help guide artists in making decisions about how to organize the elements on a picture plane or in physical space in order to communicate content. In order to think critically about visual design, this course will begin with a practical approach to solving visual problems while introducing the vocabulary of visual terms and visual analysis.
    2. Through structured studio experiences, students will learn the intrinsic qualities of various media and develop an understanding of compositional strategies, technical skills and design processes. The importance of good craftsmanship and a professional approach to studio practices will be emphasized along with the experimental and imaginative manipulation of form and content. Increasing emphasis will be placed on subjectivity, content and conceptual development in student work.
    3. Students will develop Final Portfolios that will be assessed after each lesson and at the end of the semester with the guidance of specific grading rubrics and group critiques.

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  • Ceramics II

    1. These semester courses are open to all students who have completed the prerequisite ceramics course. Classes are tailored to each student, focusing on individual interests. Ceramics students are expected to increase their technical proficiency, explore a diversity of forms, and employ a variety of glazing techniques.
    2. Students learn terms and definitions in order to become more familiar with the technical aspects of ceramics. They are introduced to a number of resources in the library, and see videos of famous ceramic artists.

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  • Photography II

    1. Photography II begins where Photography I left off. Students will continue using professional digital cameras and learn additional Adobe Photoshop techniques. Emphasis will be placed on further developing talent, artistic expression and documentary communication in a hands-on environment. Students will be exposed to modern and contemporary photography and will study the work of influential photographers. We will often work together shooting as a group while discussing the photographic merits of particular places, quality of light and shooting at different times of day. Students will also have access to professional lighting equipment they can use in the studio as well as out on location.
    2. Students will also take part in meaningful group critiques of their work and consider standards and ethics in art and documentary practice. The class will have an emphasis on creativity and diverse interpretation of assignments as well as a personal project of the students’ choosing.
    3. The class will also look at photography that illustrates diverse cultures at home and abroad as well as photography that takes an activist approach. Students will learn how to present photographs in murals, print portfolio, on the web and mounted on a wall.

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    Media Literacy Required Reading: Students will be required to regularly read one of several mainstream news outlets, such as the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal for class discussions about news and culture.
  • Filmmaking II

    1. Students will continue their filmmaking education with an emphasis on narrative storytelling and self-expression in documentary and fiction. Students will work to develop their personal vision in a hands-on creative environment individually as well as collaboratively in groups. Craft and creating compelling films with emotional impact are of principal importance in this class. Students will shoot with professional grade DSLR cameras and audio equipment as they fulfill creative, enjoyably and gratifying assignments while working towards a final project. Students enrolled in this course will gain more experience with writing screenplays and creating storyboards for film projects. We will also view films and regularly have constructive group discussions and critiques. Filmmaking I, or equivalent, is required to sign-up for this course.
    2. During the course each student will be taught:
      · How to tell an impactful and emotive story
      · Expand their knowledge of composition and lighting
      · Further develop their editing techniques in Adobe Premier Pro

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  • Ceramics III

    1. These semester courses are open to all students who have completed the prerequisite ceramics course. Classes are tailored to each student, focusing on individual interests. Ceramics students are expected to increase their technical proficiency, explore a diversity of forms, and employ a variety of glazing techniques.
    2. Students learn terms and definitions in order to become more familiar with the technical aspects of ceramics. They are introduced to a number of resources in the library, and see videos of famous ceramic artists.

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    No textbook required.
  • Photography III

    1. Photography III is for advanced photographers who wish to immerse themselves further into photographic practice. The curriculum is geared towards a student’s interest: whether it be abstraction, portraiture, documentary, landscape, digital or traditional film and darkroom techniques. Emphasis is placed on creating personal work and spending time deeply involved in longer-term projects using photography to create a series of images that work together.
    2. Students will regularly view classic and contemporary photography and take part in group discussions and critiques. They will be required to present their long-term project(s) in either book form, murals, alternative techniques, print portfolio, on the web or mounted on a wall.

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    Click on the book(s) above for direct purchasing options. Please note: if you would like to find the books through another vendor, be sure to take note of the exact ISBN numbers so you/your child has the correct book for class.
  • Filmmaking III

    Advanced course
    The course is designed for more advanced filmmakers who wish to immerse themselves further in the medium of film and cinema. The curriculum is geared towards students’ interest; whether it be narrative fiction or documentary. Strong emphasis is placed on creating personal work, exploration of a theme and spending time deeply involved in a long-term film project in an experiential learning environment.

    Students will regularly share their work as it is in progress, view films and film scenes and be expected to participate in group discussions and critiques. They will be required to present their long-term film project(s) at the end of the semester.

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  • AP Art & Design

    AP Studio Art provides the opportunity for the visually inclined students to excel and receive recognition on a national level. It allows students to compare their work with other high school students throughout the nation, and helps them prepare an excellent portfolio for study at the college level. All students enrolling in the course are expected to submit an AP Portfolio.

    AP Studio Art: Drawing/ 2D/ 3D is a two-semester course that focuses on producing a large number of quality works that demonstrate mastery of fundamental artistic concepts. In their work, students will investigate all three components of the AP Portfolio; Quality, Concentration and Breadth. Students will further develop their technical skills and creative thought processes as they find their own way to communicate visually. Students will also be presented with problems that require unconventional and imaginative solutions. This fast paced course requires the student to be highly motivated and interested in the serious study of art, which may lead to college credit. Motivation, imagination and commitment are required to succeed in the course.

    There are three portfolio types in AP Studio Art. A Drawing Portfolio, a 2D Portfolio and a 3D portfolio. Descriptions for each to follow.

    The AP Drawing Portfolio is designed to address a very broad interpretation of drawing issues and media. Light and shade, line quality, rendering of form, composition, surface manipulation, and illusion of depth are drawing issues that can be addressed through a variety of means, which could include painting, printmaking, mixed media, etc. Abstract, observational, and inventive works may demonstrate drawing competence. The range of marks used to make drawings, the arrangement of those marks, and the materials used to make the marks are endless. Projects will be structured around the elements of art and principles of design. In these projects, students will need to use their knowledge of technique and materials to communicate through their art. This encourages students to use critical thinking skills, while also developing their own voices as visual artists. Thus, students will develop mastery in concept, composition, and execution of their personal artistic vision.

    The purpose of AP Studio Art: 2-D Design is to provide an intensive study of the process of creating two-dimensional design (2-D) artwork using both traditional fine and digital art media (materials and tools). Emphasis is placed on the quality, breadth and concentration of the student’s production and experiences in digital art, photography, drawing, and design. Projects will be structured around the elements of art and principles of design. In these projects, students will need to use their knowledge of technique and materials to communicate through their art. This encourages students to use critical thinking skills, while also developing their own voices as visual artists. Thus, students will develop mastery in concept, composition, and execution of their personal artistic vision.

    The purpose of AP Studio Art: 3-D Design is to provide an intensive study of the process of creating three-dimensional (3-D) artwork using the elements and principles of design in an integrative way. Emphasis is placed on the quality, breadth and concentration of the student’s understanding of design principles relating to Space and Depth. In these projects, students will need to use their knowledge of technique and materials to communicate through their art. This encourages students to use critical thinking skills, while also developing their own voices as visual artists. Thus, students will develop mastery in concept, construction, and presentation of their personal artistic vision.
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Faculty

  • Photo of Marylena Sevigney
    Marylena Sevigney
    Visual Arts Faculty & Art Department Chair
    (603) 779-5227
    Bio
  • Photo of Joseph Sywenkyj
    Joseph Sywenkyj
    Visual Arts Faculty
    (603) 779-5387
    Bio

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Holderness School
33 Chapel Lane, Holderness, NH 03245

MAIL P.O. Box 1879 Plymouth, NH 03264-1879
PHONE (603) 536-1257
EMAIL info@holderness.org